The Camino to Santiago de Compostela: not a walk in the park
A successful Camino is a Camino you can finish. Long-distance walking is not like a walk in the park: think of it as walking the distances of half (or full) marathons every day, for weeks or months on end. If you plan to walk the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela, you need sensible preparation to tackle the 800 km (or 490 miles) that lie ahead of you. It might seem daunting at first to walk such a distance, but if you prepare well you will make it. Not only that: you won’t want to stop.
The author on the final section of the the Camino Frances in 2018.: Le Puy- Santiago, 1515 km.
Preparation for a long-distance pilgrim path.
The best way to get Camino ready is to learn from those who have walked it. “Camino Ready. Backpacks, Boots and (no) Blisters” now in a second edition is a practical guide written by a pilgrim who has walked the walk.
Mark O’Sullivan has chosen nine key topics to form the backbone of his preparation guide, based on hands-on experience. In themes ranging from training, footwear, walking poles, backpacks, clothing and essential aids. The book covers all basic and essential information you need to be “Camino Ready”.
This new edition was an additional chapter on “walking as a system” which provides insights into the controlled pattern of shock absorption and the smooth transition of forces taking place.
To Buy click on the cover above
The first edition received excellent reviews averaging 4.5 stars.
Translations are now available in Spanish, German and Korean.
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What to avoid
The main chapters are as follows:
Boots vs. blisters. Choosing the right footwear for long distance walking.
Walking as a “System” Learn about what is happing in your body as you walk.
Choosing clothing for sun, rain and cold. Having the right gear.
A get fit program. To be physically and mentally prepared.
Are you a greaser or a strapper? Protecting your feet each day; avoiding blisters; choosing socks.
Weight creep–a killjoy. Your backpack and a packing list.
Water: why, where, and when. It is not just about sipping, need to avoid tendonitis and shin splints.
Trekking or walking poles. Why, what, and how. Protect your knees and ankles. Techniques.
Sundry useful tips. SIM cards, keeping valuables safe, free Wi-Fi, offline maps, and lots more.
What’s In The Guide Book
In addition to these 9 topics, in the appendix there are two articles by fellow pilgrims who commented on an a draft of the first edition and suggested other topics to help people with their first Camino.
The first is on albergues, “What to expect and how to manage”; the second is “all about bed bugs“ with a focus on avoiding them and, if it happens, how to treat the bites and avoid carrying them home!
Please note: I am not a doctor, pharmacist, physiotherapist, or podiatrist and don’t claim any medical knowledge. I am, however, offering my experiences so others may be well prepared and learn from my mistakes while walking thousands of kilometres under different conditions and over varied terrain.
The most important thing: Just love the “time out” from the daily routine along with the many challenges along the way. It is therapeutic walking through fields and forests, over hills and mountains, breathing fresh air. I did not know what “eco therapy” was until I experienced it: a sense of peace through being away from cities and immersed in nature. It is as though our genetic roots are being reawakened and we are reinvigorated.
Preparation is the key. I am passionate about bringing together in one place all the essential information most people will need to avoid easily avoidable mistakes that can otherwise shatter dreams. This spurred me on to write a book and create the Camino Walking Guide website, not about walking the Camino, but how to prepare.